Background: In the EPILOG trial (Evaluation in PTCA to Improve Long-term Outcome with abciximab GP IIb/IIIa blockade), abciximab administered with weight-adjusted heparin diminished the risk of ischemic complications within 30 days by 56% among patients undergoing percutaneous coronary revascularization, without increased bleeding complications.
Methods and results: A prospective economic assessment was performed in the 2792 patients enrolled in EPILOG. Patients were randomized to receive placebo with standard-dose weight-adjusted heparin, abciximab with low-dose weight-adjusted heparin, or abciximab with standard-dose weight-adjusted heparin during percutaneous coronary intervention. Hospital billing data for the baseline hospitalization were collected for 2581 patients (92.4% of total) and imputed for the remainder, with physician fees estimated from the Medicare Fee Schedule. For the baseline hospitalization, medical costs (hospitalization and physician fees) averaged $9632 for the placebo arm compared with $8758 (P:=0.005) and $9092 (P:=0.176) for the abciximab with low-dose and standard-dose heparin arms, respectively. Inclusive of average drug cost ($1454 to $1457), the net incremental baseline cost of these 2 abciximab strategies was $583 with low-dose weight-adjusted heparin and $914 with standard-dose weight-adjusted heparin. During 6-month follow-up, average hospital costs were not significantly different in the 3 treatment groups; cumulative net incremental costs were $1236 and $1268 in the abciximab with low-dose and standard-dose heparin groups, respectively.
Conclusions: Treatment with abciximab and low-dose, weight-adjusted heparin during percutaneous coronary revascularization reduces ischemic events and associated costs, thereby offsetting some of the cost of the drug. The suppression of bleeding complications associated with this agent by heparin dose reduction optimizes the economic attractiveness of this treatment strategy.